Time Flies

… and there, dripping bling and chillaxing on his big gold chair, only Henry the fricking Eighth!

OMG, thought Kylie, amazeballs! Dead gobsmacked – banter gone AWOL, brain in La La Land – she froze!

Henry scratched his moobs and yawned. Desperate, she groomed her silky hair. One green sleeve fell back to reveal a shapely wrist anddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd


McCauley Gibbon, putative chronicler of the past, shoved his laptop off the desk. His wild eyes drifted to the windowsill and its miscellaneous objects: bird-Quill, pen-knife, ink-pot …


‘Twas indeed the King, festooned in his finery, enthroned in languorous splendour. Poor Kate found herself speechless …


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Image: Farmers’ Almanac

100 word story: Full To Bursting

His problem, the would-be writer observed, was that anything really worthwhile could only be said if there were no constraints of word-length. One hundred words was scarcely enough to tell a simple story, let alone imply a whole world that could be communicated before it was understood.

Nothing for it, he concluded, but Scamper hell-for-leather toward completion in the hope that something significant would emerge before the dreaded cut-off point. The nearer he came, however, the harder it was to focus on his ending.

With ten words to go, out of the wild blue yonder floated the astonishing idea that …


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Image: Halogen Software

100 word story: Too Much To Dream Last Night?

You awake from a lucid dream with a sure-fire scheme: to rescue humankind from its hellish vortex of greed, conflict, prejudice, exploitation and inequality. You envisage taking to the airwaves, unfolding beauteous designs for a creative fusion of knowledge and empathy that can vanquish those hungry old ghosts and their howling black dogs forever.

But O, what if your words became a Magnet for the wrong kind of attention? How easy to imagine a secret cabal of dodgy financiers, armament vendors, people traffickers and rabid elitists eyeballing your head above that parapet!

Pull up the covers. Go back to sleep.


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Image: Ergoflex

100 word story: Roots Stew

“You not from round here, then?”

They surrounded him, their faces tight and closed. A truthful answer might be his death warrant.

“As a matter of fact, I was born in that house over there. Local boy, me! Well, I had to come back and see the old place once more before I … ”

Their eyes widened. He pressed on.

“Six weeks left, the doctors say. But standing here in Bafflesby beside you guys is a tonic all by itself. No place like home, eh, rubbing shoulders with your own kind? Gotta tell you, feels so good!”

“We in Dumbleton, fella …”


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Image: iStock

100 word story: Tower Block Blues

We look down on a city that doesn’t see us. Somewhere below is work, cash in hand, no questions asked. The notes slip through our fingers, a few groceries, the rest hush-money for a little snatched sleep in a sublet flat.

Folk keep to themselves up here where walls have ears and let in water. Out of the Loop we live for today with no thought of tomorrow, in a world apart, all corners cut and services slashed to the bone.

But now they’ve shrouded us in stylish cladding against the rain and cold. Small mercies. It cost us nothing.


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Image: The Sun

100 word story: Restless Soul

Her world was gorgeous. She had only to sit back and enjoy it. But somehow it wasn’t enough.

Could life be more enjoyable, she wondered?

The thought took hold, eroding her pleasure in nature. She craved complication, obsessed with the idea of something somewhere just out of reach. Simplicity gave way to sophistication. Freedoms fled before fascisms of high fashion.

No longer did she love everywhere, learning from others to place one thing above another. The rare and novel drove the familiar and commonplace from her heart.

Meddle with the natural order, she began to demand. Bring me new things.

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Image: Flickr


Nobody likes criticism but, as the Great Sage Mary Poppins once opined, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

By the end of my time in teaching the consensus was that you should aim for five positive comments to the little darlings for every negative one. A worthy ideal, indeed, though I’m pretty sure I never achieved that ratio myself.

I can’t even boast of satisfying Pink Floyd’s demand for no dark sarcasm in the classroom … well, when they stopped us walloping the little whelps what other weapon would work?

Just joking, aren’t I? The only time I tried to hit a kid was circa 1974 … and I missed.

One thing I was proud of, however, was my marking. Those red-pen comments of mine were miniature – and sometimes epic – minor masterpieces. At their best, they conformed to the following 4 principles.

As I said, nobody likes criticism … unless it comes in the form of suggestions for improvement on near perfection. Tell us how wonderful we are – it is, after all, no word of a lie – and we can take the truth no matter how brutal. Call us morons and we turn a deaf ear.

  1. You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”
  2. You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
  3. You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
  4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

It was the very least I could do after all that heavy irony in lessons …


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